Knife Crime - Home Affairs Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 260-265)


27 JANUARY 2009

  Q260  Chairman: So Government may ask you to do more to tackle knife crime, but they have got to pay, have they not, because you will have enormous resource implications if you took on these responsibilities without the funding?

  Dr Creasy: Absolutely, and we have a real challenge. One of the concerns we have and why I wanted to come and address this Committee is that we think it is fantastic that people are looking to youth-led organisations like the Scouts and asking if they could play a role in promoting positive behaviour, but it is understanding that our challenge is not having young people who want to come and join, it is the adult volunteers, it is the capacity to be able to substantially involve more young people that we have a problem with. Part of that is about funding, absolutely. The Essex experience project I talked about costs us about £70,000 a year to fund because the entire thing is free for the young people who take part. It is one of the ways we make sure it is accessible. We have a series of local development officers who support our volunteers within the community and who help people with finding ways of fitting people into volunteering. That is clearly a resource where if we could expand it we could work with more young people.

  Q261  Chairman: You seem to have this fabulous record. You have got 400,000 young people aged between six and 25 and 100,000 voluntary adult leaders, with 15,000 joining in 2008 and not a knife in sight.

  Dr Creasy: Our numbers are likely to go up again this year as well, yes.

  Q262  Chairman: But you cannot find a single knife?

  Dr Creasy: Are you asking us whether we have people who have committed knife crime within The Scout Association?

  Q263  Chairman: No. I am saying none of you can come to us with any anecdotal evidence to suggest to us that there is a problem with knife crime among any of these 400,000 young people.

  Dr Creasy: What we can come to you with is evidence that there are young people involved in scouting, because scouting reflects young people as a whole within the UK—

  Q264  Chairman: That is not a trick question. That is recognition of what you have achieved.

  Dr Creasy: We have young people who have specialist needs and we have young people who have difficult backgrounds.

  Q265  Chairman: It is a very, very good record. Dr Creasy, Mr Reid, Ms Ibrahim, thank you so much for coming in to give evidence to us. It may well be that we will write to you again before the inquiry is concluded to ask for more evidence or some of our Members might want to come and revisit their old Scout troop to see how it has changed.

  Dr Creasy: Please go and visit your local groups because scouting really has changed in the last 20 years. We think it is really important for people to come and see it now as opposed to perhaps what the perception might be, and you will be very welcome.

  Chairman: Indeed. Thank you very much.

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